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Legendary Locals of Daytona Beach

by Mark Lane

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Since the 1920s, Daytona Beach has sold itself as 'The World's Most Famous Beach,' which, while not literally true, does suggest a city with a big personality and large plans. The people in these pages contributed to that personality and made those plans. These people include Matthias Day, the Ohio industrialist, educator, inventor, and newspaper editor who founded and gave his name to the new city in 1876; Mary McLeod Bethune, the daughter of former slaves, who founded the university that bears her name 'with five little girls, a dollar and a half, and faith in God'; Bill France Sr., the race driver and promoter who took stock car racing from the beach sands to a state-of-the-art track and built a racing empire; and his son, Bill France Jr., who turned NASCAR into a national pastime. Other notable Daytonans include the builders, writers, artists, rockers, promoters, business founders, educators, journalists, politicians, pioneers, bootleggers, philanthropists, sports stars, and even a dog that made the city what it is today. They come to life in historical photographs from the Halifax Historical Museum, the Florida Archives, and files of the Daytona Beach News-Journal.… (more)

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Since the 1920s, Daytona Beach has sold itself as 'The World's Most Famous Beach,' which, while not literally true, does suggest a city with a big personality and large plans. The people in these pages contributed to that personality and made those plans. These people include Matthias Day, the Ohio industrialist, educator, inventor, and newspaper editor who founded and gave his name to the new city in 1876; Mary McLeod Bethune, the daughter of former slaves, who founded the university that bears her name 'with five little girls, a dollar and a half, and faith in God'; Bill France Sr., the race driver and promoter who took stock car racing from the beach sands to a state-of-the-art track and built a racing empire; and his son, Bill France Jr., who turned NASCAR into a national pastime. Other notable Daytonans include the builders, writers, artists, rockers, promoters, business founders, educators, journalists, politicians, pioneers, bootleggers, philanthropists, sports stars, and even a dog that made the city what it is today. They come to life in historical photographs from the Halifax Historical Museum, the Florida Archives, and files of the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

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